I agree; for a runner to reach his or her potential a solid foundation of mileage and specialized/speed training are both important. I think many people concentrate on the speed workouts and not the foundation because they are always training for the next race. If a runner is racing three marathons, two half marathons, and a few shorter races in a year, there just isn’t enough time to recover and then build up the endurance before entering a 16-week training plan. Another reason that runners (including me) prefer the quality workouts is that we get addicted to our watches. It’s more fun (and it’s a confidence builder) to look at your watch and see that your average mile for your workout was 7:00, rather than running more miles at a slower pace.
The above statement caught my eye. Occassionally I see in different running forums people say that they cut their mileage and do almost all quality workouts because they’ve been injured and feel that higher mileage will cause another injury. While I understand that each person and each injury is different, I’ve always felt that short, hard workouts were a greater injury risk than long, easy runs.
Just my two cents,